IQ: Why Jewish people are smarter

Why are Jews

Why are Jews “so doggone smart”? asked Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. It’s a question they would generally prefer not to discuss, especially when gentiles are listening. But in a new book called Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People, author Jon Entine argues that centuries of marrying almost entirely within their community has given Jews an average IQ of 107 to 115, significantly above the 100 average of the general population. A chance genetic mutation that promoted higher intelligence, Entine says, would have been preserved by all that intramarriage, and could explain why Jews overachieve in so many intellectual pursuits, including science and math. Entine’s thesis is getting support from controversial Bell Curve author Charles Murray, who has his own explanation. Through the process of natural selection, he hypothesizes, the Jewish people’s cultural emphasis on knowledge and study of the Talmud may have driven out less intelligent Jews centuries ago. Stupid Jews, Murray says, would have been less likely to attract mates, and thus less likely to pass on their genes. As a Jew, all this talk of “Jewish genetic superiority” makes me uncomfortable, said William Saletan in But Entine’s theory does make a certain kind of sense, especially when you consider that the same inbreeding that has made us smarter may have also made us more susceptible to terrible genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and breast cancer. And while Jews in general score off the charts on verbal IQ, our visio-spatial skills are below average. So in return for being clever with words and numbers, evolution has turned the Chosen People into klutzes with a susceptibility to dread diseases. Put into that context, the gift of a few extra IQ points does not sound so elitist. There’s no need for us Jews to be so defensive, said Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder in The American Spectator. Theories that correlate race with intelligence may be completely wrong, but if so, they should be shot down by open discussion. Science only works when “scientists are free to explore and search for truth, whether that truth is convenient, politically correct, contradicts government policy, or runs contrary to the sentiments of today.” But whether Entine’s theory has any merit or not, it’s important to remember that blanket statements about racial or cultural groups are gross generalizations, which tell you little or nothing about any individual member of those groups. “If we needed an operation, we would rather have a smart Buddhist picking up the scalpel than a dumb Jew.”

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